Master of Arts Program in Linguistics

The Graduate Linguistics Department was founded in 1989, in collaboration between Payap University and the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Today over one hundred graduates from Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Americas, and Europe belong to the Linguistics Department alumni.


Southeast Asia hosts many languages belonging to five entirely different language families: Tai-Kadai, Tibeto-Burman, Hmong Mien, Austroasiatic, and Austronesian. Relatively little is known about the number, classification, and affiliation of individual languages in the region, and many of them are endangered. Only appropriately trained linguists can investigate these languages, guide the many communities who aspire to document, preserve and cultivate their cultural heritage, and skillfully translate or train to translate materials into their language. To meet this need, the Linguistics Department offers a strong field-linguistics-focused degree right in the center of where these languages are spoken.


The Linguistics Department aims to train future linguists who can promote the analysis, description, and documentation of the languages spoken particularly in Asia, fostering the ability of language communities to develop and maintain their languages, including the production of quality translation.

Graduates of the program have the knowledge, ability, and skill to:

  • Apply linguistic theory to analyze, describe and document any language;

  • Use effective methods of language study and research;

  • Produce quality translation, examine and assess translated documents, and adapt them for successful communication;

  • Assist non-dominant language communities to cultivate and develop their heritage languages within the context of their national language.